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Roger Nichols & the Small Circle of Friends: Roger Nichols & the Small Circle of Friends (1968)

“Roger Nichols & the Small Circle of Friends” is the debut album by Roger Nichols & the Small Circle of Friends, a group formed by Roger Nichols (bass, songwriting, guitar, piano, vocals), an American composer and songwriter born in Missoula, Montana in 1940, with Murray Macleod (guitar), who had been a member of Los Angeles-based sunshine pop group The Parade, and his sister Melinda MacLeod (vocals).

The album was released by A&M Records in 1968.

Though half (six tracks) of all the 12 tracks are covers of other artists, the album is a masterpiece of soft rock/A&M pop/sunshine pop, featuring beautiful melodies and chorus harmonies, and sophisticated orchestration arrangements.

Produced by Tommy LiPuma. Arranged by Nick DeCaro and others.

“With a Little Help from My Friends” and “I’ll Be Back” are covers of the songs by the Beatles.

“Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” is a cover of the song by Burt Bacharach and Hal David.

“Snow Queen” is a cover of the song by Gerry Goffin and Carole King.

“Cocoanut Grove” and “Didn’t Want To Have To Do It” are covers of the songs by Lovin’ Spoonful.

The album was released on CD in Japan in 1987 for the first time in the world.

It was reissued with seven bonus tracks, including a song for Harpers Bizarre “The Drifter”, as “The Complete Roger Nichols & the Small Circle of Friends” (19 tracks) in Japan in 1997.

The 2005 reissue (20 tracks) by Rev-Ola Records (UK) contains all the 19 tracks of the Japanese complete edition and an additional track “St. Bernie The Sno-Dog” (a Christmas song).

Though the album was not a big seller at the time of its release, it has developed a reputation as a soft rock classic since the 1970s.

The album had a strong influence on Japanese artists called “Shibuya-kei” in the late 1990s, such as Pizzicato Five and Flipper’s Guitar.

The Drifter – Roger Nichols and the Small Circle of Friends